16 Tips for Writing for the Web

Creating content for a website can often be a daunting experience. There are many factors to consider, and it is far more complicated than simply putting ideas on a page. Web content must consider who the audience is and how they are looking for content.

Rules of Thumb for Web Writing

  1. Content should be useful! Fill a need for your users and people will share/link to your site.
  2. Use the inverted pyramid – put useful info first.
  3. Don’t create articles with more than 600 words (Huffington Post asks writers to stay under 800).
  4. Use bullets/lists whenever possible.
  5. Photos + videos are awesome.
  6. Think usability – Alt/Title next is crucial for screen readers
  7. Videos are great, but should have captions to paraphrase
  8. Use Sub-headers to organize sections. People scan before reading, they will read these first.
  9. Include links to reputable sources
  10. Add links to the words in the paragraph (don’t use “more info”)
  11. Use Bold and italics sparingly.
  12. Use the topic of the article to find how people might search for it (consider using Google.com/trends).
  13. Use keywords early in the post, and in sub-headers (think SEO!)
  14. Consider low-literacy readers.
  15. Save the $10 words for Scrabble.
  16. Read your content aloud.

Remember writing for the web does not necessarily mean your content is ready for mobile. Keep an eye on your web analytics to see how mobile users are experiencing your site. More on that later…

Great Resources

Ted Resource on Using Clear Language
Indicate the direction to my humble abode. Which way is home?
Quick Tips on Writing for the Web
Tips from the point of view of a designer.
Using Plain Language
Saves you money because people don’t call you and makes them happier.
Inverted Pyramid Writing
Put the most newsworthy information at the top!
Rules for Writing for the Web
Tips for tone of voice, fact checking, and formatting.

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